Why I am not supporting CS5 and CS6 from now on. 

It is with great discontent and heartfelt apologies for anyone running Photoshop CS5 & CS6 that I say, “I am throwing in the towel”.  For the last 2 months I have been trying to figure out how to continue creating CS panels.  However, my hands are tied behind my back at this point due to outdated software.

Before I continue with my reasons, I will leave the short and sweet here for those who may not have the time to devote to the whole post:

  1. Current versions of the Zone System Express and Palette Effects will remain where they stand for CS6 (and CS5 where applicable).  Palette Effects will remain in version 1.0 and the Zone System Express will remain at version 3.6
  2. By no means does this mean I will not continue to help with the installation of these items. It just means that I can no longer update them.
  3. When you see new versions of either Palette Effects of the Zone System Express, they will only be applicable to CC owners.


A brief history on Photoshop Extensions.

Prior to Photoshop CC 2014, extensions were built using the Flash Platform.  Since then Flash has become a rather archaic form of development next to CSS and HTML.  Adobe knew this was coming do from CC 2014 and beyond, Flash built Panels would no longer be supported inside Photoshop.

The program we use to build CS5 and CS6 plugins is called “Configurator” (version 3 for CS5 and version 4 for CS6).  It is a convenient little program because it allows drag and drop build functionality.  Whatever you want on the panel you just drag in and rename and voila, you have a function on a panel.  Of course, you can get pretty extensive with the panels and make some impressive custom built “software” for CS5 and CS6.

The recent problem with Configurator

While Configurator seems easy enough to create panels, there is a serious issue with it that just came to fruition in the last 3 months.  The last edition of Configurator 4 came out in July of 2013 and has not been updated since.  It is going on 4 years old at this point with no hope of being updated.

Here is the problem.  The process of creating a panel in Configurator requires the build process and a certificate signature.  For the last year I have been using a valid certificate to sign the panels for all of the CC extensions as well as CS6 and CS5.  As of April 6th 2017, I have not been able to get Configurator to successfully sign the panel so I can export it out of the program and give it to you.

An example of the error message I receive when attempting to sign panels in Configurator 4.

I get an error message that states there may be something wrong with the password for the Certificate.  However, the same certificate worked flawlessly before April 2017.  The same certificate (and password) will successfully sign a CC extension.

So where is the disconnect?
Why would a certificate that once worked flawlessly now discontinue to work?

It is a mystery.  A Phone call to Adobe left me speechless.  “We do not support Configurator, that is an Adobe Labs product”.  There is no contact information for Adobe Labs and the forum is littered with people having the exact same issue I am.

What have I done to try and correct the issue?

Everything, at least everything I can think of.  I have spent over 48 combined man hours on this problem since April.  Here are just some of the things I have tried:

  1. I contacted an individual who has been making panels for Photoshop for over 10 years.  His assumptions is there is some kind of timestamp inside Configurator 4 (also Configurator 3) that may have expired which means it will not successfully sign the panel for exporting.
  2. I have tried “Tricking” the signing process by exporting the Panel as a group of files (not an extension), organizing the files like a panel, and signing it like you do a CC application. That failed epicly!
  3. I have tried updating the ZXP sign Command that comes with Configurator with the newest one for CC. That didn’t work either.
  4. I thought maybe it was just my PC. So I tried the whole process on my other PC for testing purposes.  I tried it on my Laptop, I tried it on my Wife’s Laptop and I even tried it on a laptop that has not been connected to the internet in over 2 years.  I also tried to reset the time on the PC’s to 2014 to try and trick the Timestamp.  None of that worked.
  5. I sent all the files to Jake, he tried countless ways to sign the panel for CS6 using both Configurator and the Adobe Exchange. That didn’t work either.

Beyond all of this.  I have heard that many developers are no longer creating Flash applications as it is a “thing of the past”.  My safe assumption, unless you know something I do not, is that there may be no hope for Extensions for CS6 and CS5 from here on out using Configurator.

The way ahead.

So now that the doom and gloom is over, what is the way ahead?  Well, I suggest moving to Photoshop CC if you are an avid Photoshop user.   I know, I know, there are a lot of people that are entirely against Photoshop CC, however, hear me out.
***I must add this before you continue reading.  I DO NOT get paid by Adobe to say these things.  I am not even a registered affiliate with Adobe.  BEFORE you take to the comments to vocalize your opinion about CC, I would refrain, I will delete all conspiracy theory comments and anything negative, I have heard enough of the CC banter by now.***

If you find yourself using Photoshop every day, it may be a good idea to jump on the Photoshop CC plan.  At $9.99 per month with the Photographer’s plan, you are getting access to 2 of the most invaluable pieces of software on the planet, Photoshop and Lightroom (Lightroom may be debatable, hehe).  Prior to the CC plan I was spending hundreds of dollars every year to stay up to date with the latest and greatest.  But now it is more affordable than EVER before.

Benefits of CC:

  • Stay up to date with the latest Adobe Updates
  • HTML Extensions like Palette Effects and the Zone System Express run INCREDIBLY fast. On CS6 there is lag time between button presses, but on CC, it is lightening quick.
  • -A ton of new features since CS6. Afterall, CS6 is over 5 years old now.
  • Updates are more frequent. They used to be every 18 months or so, but now they have a few that come out every year to ensure the programs are running optimally.

Debunking the common myths of CC

  • While it is called the Creative CLOUD, you are not operating in the cloud.  You have access to everything on your computer and to be honest, I have never even used any of the “cloud” features.
  • Regardless of what your foil hat wearing friends may tell you, Adobe does not have access to all of your files because it is on the cloud. Your images are SAFE and no one is trying to steal your identity.
  • You do NOT have to be connected at all times to have access to Photoshop CC. I am using it right now on my laptop that is not connected to the internet.  However, every 3 months or so you do have to log into your account to register the device you are on.

An example of the sign in window you may see from time to time.

In Conclusion.

I am not giving up on my support for the current PE and ZSE applications for CS5 and CS6 users.  I am still here to help.  However, I can no longer update the extensions I create for CS5 and CS6.  As outlined above, you can see the extent that I have gone through to try and keep that support available.  At this point, I have to throw in the towel, 48 man hours is a lot of time when you are the only man operating the business.

I highly encourage you to consider Photoshop CC.  Out of all of my surveys, I have found that only about 8% of my users are currently operating with CS6.  If you are an avid ‘shopper I would imagine you would find great benefit from your move to CC.  The water is nice over here and the extensions I create operate flawlessly in CC.

Blake Rudis
f.64 Academy and f.64 Elite are the brainchildren of Blake Rudis. While he is a landscape photographer, he is most passionate about post-processing images in Photoshop and mentoring others.

For Blake, it's all about the art and process synergy. He dives deep into complex topics and makes them easy to understand through his outside-the-box thinking so that you can use these tricks in your workflow today!
Blake Rudis on EmailBlake Rudis on FacebookBlake Rudis on InstagramBlake Rudis on PinterestBlake Rudis on TwitterBlake Rudis on Youtube